Rules are to keep us safe…

So my daughter got into a bicycle accident at a friend’s house.  I was almost there.  Almost.  There.  I got a call from a number I didn’t know while standing on the porch of her friend’s house.  Now, be warned.  We have rules at our house.  What do you get when you have a military raised dad and a teacher mama?  You get a few rules.  Wear closed toe shows at all times when riding a bicycle.  Wear a helmet.  Simple enough.

What do you get when you go to a friend’s house with perhaps not the same kind of rules.  You get a phone call.  On the porch.  Then they said come in and your child is bloody.  Not cool.  I tried really hard to be cool.  But I was so not cool.  I was way beyond not cool.  I was furious.  Furious at this other momma for letting my child get hurt on her watch because my child rode her daughter’s bike without closed toe shoes and a helmet.  Furious at my child for forgetting our rules at another person’s house.  Furious at the blood.  Furious at the toenail that was no longer on her foot.  And furious I had to do this alone because my husband was in a class all day.

It was all perfectly rational in my head.  But at that moment, all I could do was be calm.  I could only say “What happened?”, and thank you. I’ve got it from here.  We never let her ride a bike without a helmet and closed toe shoes so I am taking her to urgent care.  Thank you.  I think I did a pretty good job of being cool.

She knew I was mad.  My daughter knew I was mad.  But mostly I was worried.  Upset and worried.  I could not let that show through because there was so much blood.  When it was all said and done, my daughter’s knees were torn up.  One so bad I could hardly look at it.  Her toes were all damaged on her right foot and she was missing a toenail.  I hope you can read this…sorry.  But you have to know.  Please, please, please understand that if anything happened to another person’s child at my house I would never forgive myself.  So I had to calm down.

The momma called me later and I said, it’s ok.  She knew better.  She did.  She was upset as well, so I felt better.  I also felt better knowing the momma was going to buy helmets for all 4 of her little children.  How did they not have them already?  I have no idea.  So I extended grace because I needed to come at this from a place of mutual understanding.  She did not want my child to get hurt.  I know this.  I know how I would feel; however, she did need to remember that wearing a helmet is a law for a reason.  So maybe I saved her children’s lives.  I don’t know.  All I know is I had to be calm.  Look at my hurt child.  And tell her it’s going to be okay.  She’s going to have one heck of a scar on her knee, but we all have scars.  They help us remember. 



Motivational Memorial Day…

Every year as a child, my family would do something outdoorsy over the “holiday” weekend.  We would go to the lake with my extended family or we would have a cook-out.  We would run around from sun up until sun down and it was the only time I didn’t want to waste one minute staying in the yucky ole’ house.  Kids who stayed in the house must have had the flu, chicken pox, or did something really bad and were on “restriction”.

I would throw on my OP shorts and my tank top, and jump on my bike to ride around.  Then that would get boring after like 5 minutes, so we’d run to the woods.  That never got boring, so we’d stay in there all day.  I’d come back covered in bug bites, dirt, and have burrs in my really long hair.  That was actually not as fun, but the rest of it was.  So after sitting at the table looking like some horror movie gone wrong with my hair 5 feet in the air and frizzed out because my mom was picking the burrs out, we’d vow to stay out of the field next time and go around to the little pond we explored.

I was always pretty vague about where I’d been that day…mostly because we went really deep into the woods exploring.  I realized that times are really different now, and I wish we didn’t “know” so much.  Technology tends to make us less connected and I am a fine one to talk, yes I know this.

So yesterday something near miraculous happened.  We didn’t check into tech at all during a cook-out we had.  That’s right.  Only to take a photo, but then we put it up again.  That goes for everyone there.  It was nice.  Very nice.  I think the phones need to go in “time-out” from now on when people gather.  I know how tempted we all are to grab them, but for some of us, we can remember a time from our youth spent really talking to people.  Engaging in each others company.  Making memories.  After all, Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring all those who died while in military service and I know they would want us to carry on making memories.


Motivational Monday…

A long time ago, in a hood far, far away, I was a teacher.  During November, I talked about a few of the hard stories.  I had a student once who had “selective mutism” in first grade.  His parents didn’t act concerned at all and were wonderful and very supportive.  They said, “Oh, he talks up a storm at home.”  The problem was, that didn’t help me in the classroom because I knew I was going to have to do oral exams such as this new test called Phonological Awareness.  It’s kind of hard to hear the phonemes when someone won’t speak. 

I had “G” team up with this other child I thought would be a good role model.  I had the moms exchange phone numbers and I told them what I was doing.  Little by little “G” began to talk.  At first, it was in a whisper.  Then he whispered to his new friend.  He would whisper to me when people didn’t look at him.  The first time he raised his hand to answer a question I almost cried.  I stayed very calm and pretended I wasn’t going to call on him so I didn’t scare him.  When I saw he was ready I said his name.  He answered and the whole class stopped and looked at him.  They gave him words of encouragement.  I almost cried.  Ahhh.  Little “G”, you kind of still are my favorite story to tell.

I just looked through my photo album tonight.  I see you and your friend in almost all of my photos.  I was probably a tad bit obvious that year about favorites, but who could blame me.  It was my very first year and I managed to do something right.  I was a wee bit proud of myself.  Plus I made it through the year without quitting AND the next year, I came back an entirely different teacher; however, that’s another story.  So for my room One first graders, ummm you might be in college, but you know, I am still the same age, anyway, I love you guys and hope you are doing well.  Three of my girls are my Facebook friends so I do check on some of you.  You just don’t know it.


Extending grace…

I think this is the perfect follow-up to the last piece on shame.  I have friends I have not met and sometimes they are looking for a particular quote for their fans.  Often times I have read just the right thing so I will do a blog piece on it for them.  Today, I want to talk about extending grace to people in your life.  This one is very difficult, but it should not be.  I was raised to do my best.  To give love without attaching strings.  To try my hardest and if it was good enough, but earned me a “D” on a math test, well that was fine.  I was never really good at math and I tried so hard, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t keep all those numbers in my head.  They had a way of just not working out.  But reading, oh reading.  I could read for hours.

I was not made to feel guilt, or shame when I was clearly already upset enough over the grades.  I don’t remember ever being chastised for not getting it.  However, if I wasn’t listening, well that would have been another thing entirely.  I did my work, as best I could, and finally, by the time I got to college, I got math.  I know that seems a long time, but when I graduated from a 2 year college summa cum laude, my parents were thrilled.  I then went on to my next college, and continued to make all A’s and B’s.

The thing is, if my parents hadn’t extended me some grace while growing up, maybe I would have given up.  I struggled with that side of my brain because it wasn’t wired that way…even though I read well beyond my grade level my whole life.  It was truly torture to sit down and do math homework.  Unfortunately, my little one is the same way.

She has a bazillion and one things that are more interesting than any math problem.  The only thing that is difficult about her situation is that her older sister just gets it.  It clicks.  And of course, all the teachers remember having her sister before her.  However, one of her teachers was so honest about her personality and always took responsibility if my child did not get something.  It was quite funny.  She said things like “Maybe I didn’t set her up to do her best that day, I moved her near the window.”  It was refreshing to see a teacher get her, and not compare her to her sister at all.  So the next time you are dealing with your own child, or teaching one, think back on something that was hard for you to learn and remember to extend grace.  Try a new approach to something difficult and see if that works.grace


Motivational Monday…

Mondays have never been easy for me.  This might come as a surprise, but that’s actually why I started Motivational Monday last year.  As a teacher, I was always planning.  I was very detail oriented and organized.  Tasks were done well before they were needed to be turned in because I kept meticulous notes on what was due when.  I loved brainstorming with my friend across the hall because once we got the ball rolling, it was fun.  I loved the children and seeing them light up with learning made me feel very much part of their lives even if it was only for a year.

The work from home me is only slightly different.  I still give myself lists and tasks.  I do not use my extreme fatigue as any sort of crutch for myself even though there are days I want to.  I get up, and yes, my wardrobe is not fancy now.  I do not worry about if my clothes match (the wiener dogs don’t really care).  My daughter doesn’t seem to mind, but that’s only because I drop her off at school and don’t have to get out of the mini-van.  That’s right.  The mini-van.  Anyway, she loves me the way that I am and has never said maybe I should run a brush through my hair.  I might say that to her, but that’s probably why she got a pixie cut.  She does not like to be bothered with things such as “hair”.  She has important fifth grade things to attend to.

I work slower now.  I know that.  I take breaks.  And I get distracted easily so I have to really focus on what I am doing.  The customers of my business Vitalize You come first when they message me.  So I will stop my writing, quote photos, and other tasks to attend to them.  I get back on track with my projects as quickly as I can.  I like deadlines…because I only hold myself accountable now.  I have no “boss” which is refreshing.  “Hey me, let me run this by us.”   Okay, what have we got to do today?  Research.  Write.  Help others.  Good schedule.  Sometimes I mix it up a little.  For the record, my quote page does not pay me anything.  I simply provide that service to others because I like it.  My business page is doing well because I really do want to help others and I am honest with my customers.  See my tabs up top for that.

So this appears to be the year my questions are getting answered.  I asked, and asked, and asked some more last year to no avail.  Should I stay home and start doing my own thing?  What if I don’t make it?  How will we make ends meet?  Will I live in a cardboard box?  Why is my body trying to hijack my life?  Was this part of the “plan” and if so whose plan is this anyway???  Patience has not been my strong suit…like ever.  My friend said to me that there are many ways I can teach, and this is just another way.  It helps to think of it like that.  I am still teaching people, but I am teaching them lessons I have learned.  So here is the quote that keeps popping up in my life:


Old Wounds…

Hey everyone…I have been busy with lots of things this week.  First of all, we had this impending snow storm.  So I went to the store, and then forgot something so I went again.  I probably go to the store more than most people to find the things on my Paleo menu.  But that’s okay, its “hunt and gather”.    After I got back, I was coming in the house with bags of groceries and my cell was ringing.  The school nurse called to tell me my daughter spilled soup on her hand.  Guess what she got?  A burned hand.  That’s right.  How’s that for irony?  I didn’t really appreciate it.

I was not told to pick her up.  I was told it was a small blister.  By the time she got home, it was not so small and her hand was bothering her.  Unfortunately, everyone, and I do mean everyone, had been sent home early for this “winter warning” we were under.  The school handled it as they thought they should, but I told the principal I expect more from the cafeteria.  One of the ladies on the “line” had seen it happen, asked my child if she was okay, and moved on with her day.

If you remember, I was a teacher and I understand how hectic the lunch line is; however, what I do not understand is why they would serve soup so hot my child has second degree/partial thickness burns.  This brought back memories of my burn as a child on my hand, which was my entire palm, but also of the blisters during my early Porphyria days.  Those days are locked deep down and I usually keep a lid on them.

I spent countless nights with raw flesh on my hands trying to heal from the blisters that popped.  I thought my hands would be scarred and so did everyone else.  I rarely talk about that time, but if you want to read more you can check here.  So I brought out all my old resources.  The white cotton gloves, the creams and ointments, and the hope that this would heal.  I am so very tired of old wounds splitting open.

So her wound is healing, and she is wearing the white glove everyday.  We tried to find some humor the other night by telling her about one of our favorite performers, Michael Jackson.  That did lighten the mood as we showed her a video and tried to get her to do the moonwalk.  It was pretty funny.  There is a lesson to be learned here, but I really wish someone else could carry that burden.



Motivational Monday…

I started thinking about the ultimate motivator.  The thing that everyone wants at the end of the day…happiness.  If the word “money” flashed in your head as you read the first line, well, think again.  Don’t get me wrong, in my head my conversation with money goes a little like this:

Mr. Simms (money): Do you have any experience?

Robbie (me): No, sir, I have no experience, but I’m a big fan of money.   I like it, I use it, I have a little.  I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator.   I’d like to put more in that jar.  That’s where you come in.

Fine, so that isn’t really me, but I do use that line from The Wedding Singer.  You see, I want my kids to be happy.  However, I remind myself that more money does NOT equal more happiness contrary to popular belief.  You might be thinking about this, and how you would be happy if you could only do X,Y, and Z…which involves money.  I’m going to break off here with a short story.

Years ago, I taught at a private school for a brief time.  After seeing so much poverty, it was extremely difficult for me to work in this environment and see the peacocks walking around with their plumage on display.  The cars, the houses, the clothes, the donations of FAKENESS started to get to me like I was an extra in Jerry Maguire, but the sad thing was, this was their idea of real life.  One of the kids came to school in clothes that hardly fit him.  You might be surprised.  His hair was never combed, his shoes might be a little tight, and this, ohhh this, was something I knew about from my previous school.  His father was working on wife number five I believe.  The babysitter, I mean “nanny” brought him to school.  I was told that by all means necessary I had to be nice to this father as he was a big supporter source of money for the school.  Ha.  They really didn’t know who they were dealing with, did they?  I was nice.  Very, very nice, when I asked him about how much time he spent with his kids.  I was nice when I mentioned this child bought lunch every single day, and was still hungry, so perhaps he wasn’t getting enough at breakfast.  I was nice when I mentioned his work was sloppy as he did it all by himself and no one checked it.  And I was extremely nice, when I said, please read with your son every night.  After two years of being at this school, I could take it no longer.  I will have to tell you about the other things that went on at this school later, but needless to say, I realized that the kind of money these people had, the kind I will likely never see, did strange things to people.

So happiness my friends, is what I want you to focus on today.  But if you need money, I will leave you with this thought: